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The Ultimate Dumbbell-only Lower-body Workout for Massive Legs

Grab some DBs and size up your stems with this legs-thrashing routine.

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  • 30 min

  • 6

  • Yes

Bodybuilder performing dumbbell lunge
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty
Bodybuilder performing dumbbell lunge
MRBIG_PHOTOGRAPHY / Getty

There is little doubt that legs day is the toughest and most grueling workout session of the week. That is if you’re bold enough to treat the muscles of your lower body as seriously as those above the waist. If you do your training at a commercial gym it’s likely that you hit quads with such movements as leg extensions, barbell squats, Smith or Hack squats, and some form of the leg press, while the hamstrings are most often treated to lying leg curls, seated leg curls, and perhaps stiff-legged deadlifts.

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When it comes to smashing calves you will probably visit the seated and standing calf machine, and maybe even throw in some calf presses. That definitely sounds like a solid plan, and if each exercise is performed with focus and intensity, you should leave the gym feeling satisfied that you put in a good workout.

That said, for your next legs-training day I am going to challenge you to leave the barbells alone and shy away from all of those fancy machines. So how will you go about destroying your lower body without those “essential” pieces of equipment? How about an all-dumbbell session for the quads, hams, and calves. Might sound a little crazy, and maybe even a little bit limiting, but I assure you that once you’re done, you’ll no longer doubt the power of the dumbbell.

Routine

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Dumbbell-Only Lower Body Workout

Quads, Glutes, Hamstrings, Calves

Exercise
Equipment
Sets
Reps
Rest
Exercise 1 of 6

Walking Dumbbell Lunge

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
10-12 strides
Rest
As needed
Make sure to take long strides on every rep to fully engage the quads, hams and glutes.
Exercise 2 of 6

Dumbbell Squat

Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
3
Reps
12-15
Rest
As needed
Use wrist wraps to secure your grip so that you can better focus on your thighs throughout the set.
Exercise 3 of 6

Dumbbell Step-Up

Equipment
Bench, Box, Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
13-15 per leg
Rest
0 sec
Equipment
Dumbbells
Sets
2
Reps
7-9 per leg
Rest
0 sec
Exercise 5 of 6

Dumbbell Stiff-Leg Deadlift

Equipment
Sets
3
Reps
10-12
Rest
As needed
Try this movement with the DB’s held either out in front of you (as you would a BB) and at your sides to determine which feels more productive for you.
Exercise 6 of 6

Standing Calf Raise

Equipment
Box
Sets
3
Reps
16-20
Rest
As needed
Hold dumbbell at sides. On each of the three sets change the angle of your feet (one set straight; one set turned slightly inward; one set turned slightly outward).
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